Sunday, March 23, 2014

How Far is Too Far? Sex, Dating, and Teens

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
—I Corinthians 10:13

How far is too far when it comes to relationships between young men and women? What does the Bible say about purity?


From Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Christian Fantasy:

“Word is out about you. I’d hate to see your splattered body sprawled out on the road. It would destroy your father’s reputation; cost him his job, and my inheritance—unless Judd gets it first. If I have my way that won’t happen. I need to protect you. From now on, you’ll stay where I can see you.”
“Judd gets what?”
She didn’t answer me.
I had no idea what she was talking about. So Judd convinced her I was a tramp though Daniel had never once been alone with me. Even in the cave, he always insisted the door be open—probably why Judd overheard too much.
—Shale Snyder and Scylla, chapter twenty


In Seventh Dimension – the Door, Shale was falsely accused. The fact that she had never been alone with Daniel made her statement she had done nothing wrong more credible.

The most precious gift you can give your future husband or wife on your wedding day is your virginity.

If you are a young lady, make that gift even more special by not allowing yourself to be touched by a man—not even kissed—before you marry him.

If you are a young man, when you see young ladies at the beach or in the store or at church, guard your heart. Be a gentleman in thought and in deed. Treat young girls as if they were your sisters. Treat older women as if they were your mother or grandmother. They are somebody’s sister, or daughter, or niece, or grandmother. They are a daughter of the king—and you are a son of the king. Act like one.

Jesus had the utmost respect for women in a society that gave few rights to women. Even the woman caught in adultery, Jesus did not condemn. He sent her accusers away and told her to sin no more (Matthew 12:31).

 Young men, if you want a Christian wife, you need to be a Christian man to attract that kind of young lady. The woman you marry will be the mother to your children. Set an example before you get married by treating all women, young and old, with respect.

If you didn’t grow up in a Christian home, visit some Christian families and eat dinner with them. Pray with them. God’s love for his church is beautifully expressed in a marriage between a Christian man who loves his wife and a Christian woman who loves her husband.

This is a high standard, but it can be done. I recently went to a wedding where the bride and groom shared their first kiss on their wedding day. I marveled that a young couple could have that much self‑control and remain pure until they married.

I recently told my younger daughter, and I have told her this many times, a simple expression that goes like this: Clothes on, hands off. One night, however, I made a silly mistake and said, “Clothes off, hands on.” She gave me a wry smile, catching my mistake before I did. We both laughed, but she knew exactly what I meant.

Society will tell you it’s okay to kiss, touch, and do things that are contradictory to the teachings of the Bible. Don’t do it. When you become like the world and see love and sex through the eyes of Hollywood movies, tabloids, and gossip magazines, you’re cheapened. You have bought into Satan’s lies that these perversions will make you happy. They won’t.

You cheat yourself out of what God meant for good between a couple after they become one through marriage. Besides, do you really want those images in your mind on your honeymoon?

If you are a young lady, how would you like your new husband to think about other women he has intimately known when he has just wed you? If you are a young man, do you want to marry a young lady who has cheapened herself with other men?

It’s very difficult to keep yourself clean in a world that is inundated with sex and skin and beauty. I recently went on Twitter to find some categories for hashtags for my book. I looked up a common, everyday word and was presented with pornographic pictures of young girls. I was stunned.

If you’re normal, you will find these temptations difficult to resist. You’re curious, you have hormones, and you’re human. But every time you give in to these temptations, the lust of the flesh, you’re cheapening your view of something beautiful. God made sex sacred to be shared between a husband and a wife.

Your preoccupation before marriage with lustful thoughts will affect your relationship with the opposite sex. Raw images from the web or pictures from magazines will become imprinted in your mind. You will remember them at inappropriate times. The best way to avoid the temptation is not to allow yourself to be tempted. The Bible says in I Timothy 6:11, “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”

Daniel showed great respect for Shale. By opening the door so as not to be alone with her, Daniel respected her. He did not want to put himself into a compromising position with her, that there could ever be rumors spread about their relationship.

Someday you will probably meet a young man if you’re a young lady, or if you’re a young man, you’ll meet a girl to whom you’re attracted. If that significant other tells you things like, “If you love me, you will do this,” or some other ridiculous statement, have the guts to say “No.” Believe in yourself, your value, and your self-worth.

Let me tell you something else. You might be tempted because you want it. Sexual sin doesn’t feel bad, it doesn’t look horrid, and Satan won’t show up with pointed ears and a pitchfork and lounge beside you on the sofa with your date. Unless you have blue blood, you will enjoy romantic relationships. That is normal. Wanting to engage in sexual activity is not what gets you into trouble. Compromising is.

What greater gift can you give your future husband or wife than to be able to tell him or her that you have never shared yourself with anyone else? You have not kissed, you have not fondled, you have not slept, and you have not revealed your unclothed body to someone you have previously dated. Once you have given away that first kiss, you can’t get it back. Once a man has touched you, you have given away that part of your body. And once you have been intimate, you’re no longer a virgin.

I advise young men and women when they are dating not to even kiss. Once the juices start flowing, it’s difficult to turn off the passion. Avoid the situation in the first place.

What Hollywood presents is a sordid picture of reality. I cringe when I see those glamorous pictures of movie stars plastered on the covers of gossip magazines and newspapers—in my heart, I believe them to be the most miserable people on the planet.

Perhaps the saddest tale is that of Lindsay Lohan. What a beautiful, young, talented girl she was in the Disney movie The Parent Trap released in 1998. I wondered how long it would be before she posed for a girlie magazine. She is the epitome of someone who had so much to gain and so much to lose. With great talent comes great responsibility and temptation to misuse it. What a waste.

On the other hand, I look at a young man, Tim Tebow, who has used his fame as a way to share his faith. I have watched him from the sidelines for many years because I live in Gainesville, Florida. He was the star quarterback for the Gators, a Heisman Trophy winner in 2007, and took the University of Florida football team to the national championship. He was drafted into the NFL and played a couple of seasons for the Denver Broncos and then a year for the New York Jets before being released on waivers. He was on his way to becoming a distant memory until he was picked up by the New England Patriots. Before the football season started, he was released again. What will people remember him for?

With great faith and opportunity to share in the public arena comes great controversy. People have hated Tebow for no reason except that he is a Christian. Others have looked for opportunities to destroy him. I doubt that history will paint him as a spectacular football player, but there’s no doubt in my mind he will take the accolades of his Lord and Savior in heaven over any applause at a football stadium full of cheering crowds and sports pundits.

Any six-foot-four athlete who openly admits he is a virgin and touches the lives of cancer-stricken children in the hospital is a hero. He financially supports a foundation to help orphans in the Philippines where his family once served as missionaries.

I have no idea what else he does, but I know he is not filling the pages of those gossip magazines with unseemly stories. If he were living that kind of life, the whole world would know. Tim Tebow’s road has not been easy. He has been scoffed and ridiculed, but through it all, as of this writing, he has walked the straight and narrow path of his convictions.

My point is this:  You can do it. You can be like Tim Tebow or you can be like Lindsay Lohan, or somewhere in between. Be careful, however, about the “somewhere in between.” God doesn’t have good things to say about lukewarm people. In Revelation 3:16, Jesus said, “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

You must be sold-out to Jesus Christ. You will not have the strength and endurance to overcome the temptations that your sinful nature will crave if you don’t. Satan and his demons are relentless. You can’t win this battle without becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. Being a fan of his is not sufficient. You will lose every time. My mother used to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Good intentions aren’t good enough. You need the power of the Holy Spirit to win the battle of sex and purity.

If you have messed up in this area, there’s healing. There is forgiveness, redemption, and restoration; but there’s also pain that comes with all of that work to fix things.

Fortunately, God is in the business of healing broken lives and offers forgiveness. But he doesn’t always remove the consequences of your poor choices. If you get a venereal disease, you will suffer. Herpes is ugly. Aids kills. What about if you get pregnant?

Do you want to put yourself in that situation? Do you want to have to explain to your future husband or wife about your sins from the past?

I find relief knowing God will always provide a way to escape temptation. Do everything you can to flee from evil. Don’t go to questionable Internet sites. Don’t tempt yourself. Don’t put yourself into a situation that you might regret later.

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
–II Timothy 2:22

You belong to God. Keep yourself pure for your future husband or wife, and, above all, for yourself. Stolen fruit may taste good for a moment, but later, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Someone once said to me, “A moment of pleasure is not worth a lifetime of regret.” That person should have heeded his own advice. It was my ex-husband who told me that before he got his girlfriend pregnant—seven years into our marriage. His foolish mistake shattered me and destroyed our marriage.

Sexual sin affects others—often tragically. Walk away—actually, flee. Ask, what would Jesus want me to do in this situation? And then just do it.

Thank you, Jesus, that you made me the way I am. Help me to remember I am created in your image. Help me to remain pure and save myself for my future husband or wife. Help me to flee from temptation.

My ability to remain pure is impossible without you. I am weak in the flesh but strong in the spirit. Restore the joy of my salvation so that my joy comes from you and not from places where I should not go.

I will remember that my love for you is greater than my love for the world and all that it offers.

Help me to keep my eyes on you. Thank you that you alone are sufficient to flee from immorality in all situations.

To read more devotionals from "Am I Okay, God? Devotionals from the Seventh Dimension"on Kindle, go to:   "Am I Okay, God?" on Amazon


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